Cybersecurity

Obama names picks for cyber commission

Shutterstock image: the White House.

Former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano will lead a special presidential cybersecurity commission.

The White House announced Feb. 17 that Donilon is being appointed chairman and Palmisano vice chairman of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which President Barack Obama established via executive order earlier this month.

Donilon is a veteran civil servant, having served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, including a stint as Obama's national security adviser. He's perhaps best known to the public as a prominent face (standing, second from left) in the iconic Situation Room photo on the night of Osama bin Laden's death.

Palmisano has worked in the technology industry since the 1970s. He once described the moniker "cloud computing" as an unfortunate name and suggested swapping the now-standard buzzword with the phrase "highly virtualized environment."

The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity could eventually include a dozen presidential appointees, as well as members named by congressional leaders. Its goal is to review and issue policy recommendations to help the government, private sector and general public beef up digital security while preserving privacy.

"Right now we are not as well organized as we need to be to make sure that we’re dealing with all these threats in an effective way. We’ve made some enormous progress since I came into office, chipping away at the problem, trying to upgrade certain systems, trying to patch over certain security vulnerabilities," President Obama said at a Feb. 17 White House meeting announcing the commission leaders. He added that, "this is going to be a big agenda, a long-term agenda that is extremely complicated, extremely technical, and is going to require us to overhaul a bunch of legacy systems that are already in place."

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will provide staff and support to the commission. Its recommendations are expected by Dec. 1, 2016, according to a White House official.

"The president has the highest confidence in these men being able to deliver on the critical task of providing the country a series of detailed recommendations on actions that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity," the official said.

The commission will examine a range of public- and private-sector cybersecurity concerns, including Internet of Things security, identity management, cyber workforce development and more.

This story was updated to include remarks from President Obama.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.